Lloyd

Lessons in Love

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The big lead single from Lloyd's third album, "Girls All Around the World," has a couple connections with "You," the number one R&B single from 2007's Street Love. Lil Wayne's guest roles are the most obvious similarity between the two, while "Girls All Around the World" is built around the same drum break -- the one from Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers' "Ashley's Roachclip," a source for the likes of Eric B. & Rakim's "Paid in Full" and Milli Vanilli's "Girl You Know It's True," to name two of the almost countless -- used on P.M. Dawn's "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss," a song that, like "You," quoted Spandau Ballet's "True." "Girls easily qualifies as this album's most major drawing point, fit for summer with that familiar bounding beat and breezy synth-string accents, not to mention Wayne, who can't help but humorously reference "Paid in Full." And, of course, there is Lloyd, the should-be honorary DeBarge, with his loveable wannabe-thug falsetto. Incorporating some more club-oriented material wouldn't have hurt the album, given how safe it tends to play it, filled out with gentle midtempo cuts and slow jams, much of which comes across as Street Love reheated. That becomes increasingly obvious as the tracks roll on, especially during the latter half, where two of the album's more ridiculous tracks, "Party All Over Your Body" and "Touched by an Angel," are paired together, their disparate titles and sonics belying thematic sameness (or mindlessness). And the heartfelt sentiment within the Outfield-referencing "Lose Your Love," earlier in the set, seems more of a put-on than any of Lloyd's tough-guy photo poses. "I'm Wit It," a low-slung but urgent post-Neptunes strutter, is where Lloyd really excels, flashing some vocal gymnastics, swimming and diving through the beat while balancing desperation with swagger. Between that, "Girls," and a couple other standouts, Lessons in Love cannot be dismissed, but Lloyd will have to really change it up with his fourth album to evade a real holding pattern.

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